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HB24-1244

Minor Autopsy Report Release Requirements

Concerning the circumstances under which an autopsy report prepared in connection with the death of a minor may be released to certain parties.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subject:
Public Health
Bill Summary

The bill specifies that an autopsy report prepared in connection with the death of a minor is confidential and may be disclosed by the county coroner to another person or entity only in accordance with certain exceptions.

Under the bill, the coroner or the coroner's designee may only provide a copy of the autopsy report prepared in connection with the death of a minor to:

  • A parent or legal guardian of the deceased;
  • A law enforcement or criminal justice agency;
  • A requesting party in a civil case;
  • Counsel for the defendant or the respondent for discovery purposes in a criminal case only if discovery has not otherwise been provided and in accordance with any protective order ;
  • A law enforcement agency that is investigating the death;
  • A state, local, or regional child fatality prevention review team;
  • The Colorado department of public health and environment as necessary for the collection of data in accordance with the Colorado violent death reporting system and the Colorado unintentional drug overdose reporting system ;
  • The Colorado child fatality review team;
  • A county department of human or social services;
  • The division of youth services in the Colorado department of human services;
  • A health-care facility where the deceased had received treatment;
  • A community clinic or a treating hospital for inclusion within the medical records of the deceased;
  • An eye bank, organ procurement organization, or a tissue bank;
  • A local or regional domestic violence fatality review team;
  • The Colorado department of human services in connection with the investigation of a fatality that has occurred within any facility licensed under the "child care licensing act";
  • The office of the child protection ombudsman; or
  • A health-care provider that had previously established a patient-provider relationship with the deceased;
  • The Colorado maternal mortality review committee for the purpose of conducting public health death reviews of deceased individuals who are pregnant or within one year postpartum;
  • The Colorado department of public health and environment and county public health agencies for the purpose of data collection related to the department's authority to investigate and control the causes of epidemic and communicable diseases and related board of health rules;
  • The Colorado department of public health and environment's health facility and emergency medical services division for the purpose of health facilities and emergency medical services investigations; or
  • The public if the death occurs while the minor is in the custody or under the supervision of the state or a local government.

Upon written request, the coroner shall not release a copy of the autopsy report and instead shall release the cause, time, place, and manner of the minor's death and the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the deceased minor. This information must be released within 3 days of the request or 3 days of receiving the information, whichever is later.

Under the bill, any person may petition a district court to allow the person access to an autopsy report prepared in connection with the death of a minor. The district court shall provide access if:

  • Public disclosure of the report substantially outweighs the harm to the privacy interests of the deceased and members of the family of the deceased; and
  • The information sought by the petitioner is not otherwise publicly available.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details